Given that it was inauguration week in the U.S I was going to write another ‘letter to America’ this week, with some wise words for the country and its new President. But then I spotted something on Facebook that made me mad so I’m going to leave Trump for another day. They’ll just have to manage without my wisdom for another week. (Although I hear White, Middle Aged Men are finally going to to be listened in the States. Odd they haven’t been heard before, what with them filling the seats in Congress, Senate and the Whitehouse. They must be shy, what with one in five of them being Ladies.)
Anyway, thinly veiled sarcasm aside, let’s talk about Facebook. I’ve been on Facebook for 9 years I think and have had a topsy turvy relationship with it. It seems to represent the very best and very worst of society on its pages.My eyes have welled with tears at some posts and I have been driven to fury by others. This week though, I saw a post that got me so angry I punched my tablet, smashing the screen.
It was one of those ‘I know 97% of you won’t share this’ posts that try and guilt us into spreading what is essentially a chain letter……
Fighting!!! Big C !!! Well, I’m gonna say bye-bye to some of you. Now I’m watching the ones who will have the time to read this post until the end. This is a little test, just to see who reads and who shares without reading! If you have read everything, select “like” so I can put a thank u on ur profile! I know that 97% of you won’t broadcast this, but my friends will be the 3% that do.
Please, in honor of someone who died, or is fighting cancer, or even had cancer, copy, and paste.
Write “done” in comments when you’re finished. I can put a thank u on ur profile! I know that 97% of you won’t broadcast this, but my friends will be the 3% that do.
Please, in honor of someone who died, or is fighting cancer, or even had cancer, copy, and paste. Write “done” in comments when you*re finished
I am a cancer survivor. I have also lost people very close to me with cancer. The idea that someone would pretend to announce to the world that they have cancer is, to me at least, little short of vile. This, and posts like this, are all about attention seeking. It has nothing to do with spreading awareness of cancer, because, let’s be honest, how many people, who are Facebook users, are going to say to themselves. ‘Gee, Cancer, what’s that? Boy that sounds sucky, now I’m real sad for people who have it.)
(I should hasten to add, it wasn’t a direct friend who shared that post, they had simply commented on it. I don’t know the person who did post it and can only hope it was a brief abberation.)
All social media has become an insidious part of our lives. We are all ‘Big Brother’ now, watching and commenting and judging on those around us. And, for some reason, whatever we see in our Facebook feeds, we believe. We’ve all been aware of the impact of fake news on the Brexit referendum and the US Presidential election, but it isn’t just political manipulation. Lets talk about murder…
Say I wanted someone dead. I could create a post with their picture saying that they, for example, had raped a girl, beaten a child, or are the grown up figures of, say, the James Bulger killers. I post it to Facebook, using a fake account of course. That clickbait spreads like wildfire and suddenly that persons life is in danger, not just from me, but from any hot head idiot who thinks he’s doling out natural justice. Here’s an example I saw this week. Shared by a UK citizen..(This guy may well be guilty of what he is accused, but I don’t know that so I’ve blanked out his name.)
I clicked on the share, to see who had passed it on, and it was a guy in Texas. (Who I’m assuming has lots of friends in New Hampshire, since they are pretty far apart.) No date, no proof. The incident, if it ever happened, could have been years ago. Last year there was one morning where I saw two posts, from different friends, about a young lad doing a burglary caught on camera. The exact same pictures, in the same house, same boy. (They always seem to steal medals for that added impact.) One robbery had apparently taken place in Cambridgeshire, the other in Derbyshire. I say again, the photo’s were identical. So, at least one of those posts was a complete lie. Probably both.
Companies are being blackmailed with fake posts, showing images of children, burnt, injured, made sick, by various named products which duly get shared by well meaning people thinking they are passing on a genuine warning. Recipes for home made medicines, cures, beauty treatments, using potentially harmful chemicals are shared without being tested.
Please, before sharing, stop for a second and think about what you know, what you think you know. Just because a friend has shared it doesn’t make it true, because a friend has shared it to them as well and they’ve trusted it because they trust their friend and on it goes…..
Google it, because usually a fake post has already been debunked and you can find the truth in a few seconds. I saw one about refugees bringing containers of weapons with them to Europe, to arm an ISIS army. There were pictures of Greek customs officers pulling rifles out of boxes marked with pictures of coffee tables. It took me 15 seconds to type the phrase ‘containers of weapons’ into google and to find the Associated Press story attached to the pictures. It wasn’t refugees, it might not even have been ISIS. It was arms being smuggled into Libya to arm who knows who. But, unchecked, it’s just another piece of anti-refugee nonsense.
Oh, one last thing to show you. The man from Texas, clearly a man stupid beyond all belief, also on his profile had this image. (I’ve added the red graffiti just to make sure you know what I think of it and that the no-one can ever associates the unedited image with this blog.)
I can’t even start to tell you the ways that this is wrong. It’s just so, so, monumentally, hideously wrong! Historically it’s cobblers, morally is total rubbish and politically it is dangerous. And this was just one click away from my feed. When you share a post, do you really know where it has come from and who you are implicitly supporting by sharing?
So, why do I stay on Facebook? Because of my friends and my family. Once you get beyond the fake posts, the stupid ‘what does your name say about you’ posts, the life affirming but oddly meaningless meme’s (Share if you love your daughter/ son/ father/ cat or ‘today is world cancer day, share this candle’ – Wouldn’t want to give a donation to charity instead would you? No? Okay, share a candle, that’ll help.) and political browbeating you get the real nice stuff. The little snippets of news, the family photo’s, the silly videos and the jokes. I am in touch albeit, very lightly, with friends from primary school, I haven’t seen in years but who are still tremendous fun to swap barbs with; I can see, day to day what family the other side of the planet are up to. (It has it’s downside though, when I fell off my motorbike I mentioned it on Facebook and a relation in Australia dobbed me in to my Mum in the U.K. My ma is on Facebook now, so nothing gets past her.)
I love the jokes, the life, the reality of what people share. Keep sharing those. We should all be here to laugh and smile at the good news, and be sad and offer support at the bad.
And pet pictures…always post pet pictures….this one has had me laughing since last night..
P.S I was lying earlier, I didn’t punch my tablet. I dropped it getting it out of my bag with cold hands, later that day, but, I had a picture and something to blame it on. Fake news is so easy people. Only share what you KNOW is true.
And Fatbloketalking posts, always share them. I know 97% of you won’t……
Seriously, follow me on Twitter, I’ve done some great jokes this week and got no traction whatsoever!